Thursday, 15 January 2015

* The Aloha Spirit of Eddie Aikau *

Eddie Aikau on the mast of the Hōkūleʻa – Photograph by David Bettencourt
Image used with the very kind permission of the Eddie Aikau Foundation
Here lies one whose name was writ in water “ Jonn Keats

( Quote from the book ' Eddie Would Go ' by Stuart Holmes Coleman )

F licking through a surf magazine at a cafe in Auckland, New Zealand over a decade ago, I chanced upon a review of the book “Eddie Would Go” by Stuart Holmes Coleman.

The ripple effects of Eddie's inspirational life, continue to impact and influence me.
This was reaffirmed watching Stuart's insightful talk recently, at Wanderlust's Speakeasy , how in the journey of relaying Eddie's story, he spoke of 'the influence people can have on you unwittingly'.

The phrase 'Eddie Would Go' was inspired by the extraordinary courage he lived out. 
Setting a precedence in big wave surfing during the 1970's in Hawai'i, Eddie was famed for riding waves towering at twenty feet plus. As the first lifeguard at Waimea Bay on the Island of Oahu, he saved hundreds of lives.

He was also a humble person, with a strong moral compass he held fast to his strong personal values and sense of Ohana – family. Eddie was goodness and compassion, personified.

His commitment to the restoration of Hawai'ian cultural heritage, aligned him with the traditional ocean voyaging canoe - the Hōkūleʻa. Named after the star of gladness - Arctarus, the double hulled canoe, known in Hawai'ian as wa'a, had successfully completed a return voyage from Hawai'i to Tahiti - the ancient route of Polynesian migration - using traditional wayfinding techniques.                                          
Photo – Michele Sainsbury
When overwhelmed by challenging seas on the 1978 return voyage, in a final courageous act , Eddie would lay down his life to rescue his fellow voyagers from a distressed Hōkūleʻa.

Standing on the jetty in Okahu Bay in Auckland last month as I watched the Hōkūleʻa arrive along with a fleet of Pacific voyaging waka, my thoughts were with the Aloha spirit and legacy of Eddie Aikau. I thought of the renaissance in voyaging sparked by the Hōkūleʻa and reflected back to the point of chancing upon the review of Stuart's book – and my own navigation from then until now.                                                         

I dedicate my Finding Frangipani stories as a thank you – mahalo nui , to the continuing inspiration of Eddie – and to the central message of the Eddie Aikau Foundation, that 'There is good to be done'.

Aloha *

Hōkūleʻa in Auckland - December 2014
Photo – Michele Sainsbury

The Pacific voyaging fleet are greeted by the Māori waka - Kahakura ( Tainui )
Photo – Michele Sainsbury

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